The SFDA and carcinogenic chemicals in drinking water

WHILE a number of Shoura Council members are calling on authorities to confiscate water bottles that have a high ratio of bromate.


Muhammad Al-Osaimi




WHILE a number of Shoura Council members are calling on authorities to confiscate water bottles that have a high ratio of bromate, a highly carcinogenic substance, local dailies reported that the Saudi Food and Drug Authority (SFDA) has warned the public against drinking water manufactured by 14 factories in the country.

As consumers, how are we supposed to interpret these warnings? Why has the SFDA allowed these factories to flood the market with their products? I don’t understand this.

The poor consumer has to avoid drinking water made by these 14 factories. We should not expect the owners of these factories to feel bad for using high levels of bromate and suddenly stop using this controversial chemical compound.

As consumers, we don’t have any clue what bromate is and how it is formed in drinking water. Frankly speaking, we don’t want to know because this is not our job. It’s the SFDA’s and other pertinent authorities’ responsibility as they are supposed to monitor the safety of public health.

The SFDA and the relevant authorities should stop playing the blame game because it is not doing anyone, including consumers, any good. If all what the SFDA can do regarding this problem is issue warnings, then we must question its very existence.

We desperately need to take serious action against public health threats and save people from manipulative and reckless factory owners who have no regard for our lives.

I wonder why the SFDA has not followed the steps of other similar authorities around the world and stamp products it deems safe? If food and medical products were stamped by the SFDA, consumers would be able to differentiate between good and bad products. Such a move would force factory owners to think twice before daring to dump carcinogenic drinking water in the Saudi market.

In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration enforces very strict procedures when it comes to food and drugs. Any business that wishes to promote a certain product has to mention on the label whether or not the product has been approved by the FDA.

By doing this, the FDA protects the public health and the people against being deceived. If a consumer decides to use a certain product whose label says it has not been approved by the FDA, he/she is responsible for the outcome and the FDA won’t be held responsible.

We are still waiting for the SFDA to follow suit and impose stricter requirements and conditions on food and drugs in order to protect consumers.